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School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

Dilani Selvanthan nominated as a 2021 IET Young Women Engineer finalist

Congratulations to one of our former students, Dilani Selvanathan who has been nominated as a 2021 Young Woman Engineer (YWE) of the Year finalist from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).


The IET’s prestigious Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards have been celebrating women working in modern engineering for more than 40 years and aim to help change the perception that engineering is predominantly a career for men, by banishing outdated engineering stereotypes of hard hats and greasy pipes.

As well as highlighting female engineering talent, the awards seek to find role models who can help address the UK science and engineering skills crisis by promoting engineering careers to more girls and women.

Dilani Selvanathan, one of our former students who recently completed a degree apprenticeship in Software Engineering, has been named as one of the final six finalists. She now works as a Junior Software Engineer for Herotech8, where she works alongside the technical delivery team to support growing technical requirements, and helps to build the products and services. Dilani is also a STEM Ambassador, and took part in the STEMazing programme, giving online interactive sessions to primary schools. She is also a WISE role model, promoting young women in STEM.

“I am honoured to be a finalist for the YWE Awards, I was honestly surprised when I heard the news. The awards are important because they inspire the next generation of engineers, especially young women, and provide an insight into the amazing opportunities out there.

The YWE are important because they inspire the next generation of engineers, especially young women, and provides an insight into the amazing opportunities out there. It provides the winner and finalists a bigger platform to share their story. It’s also important to encourage people to enter an engineering profession as there is a huge shortage in the industry. I believe technology and engineering will help shape the world into a better place.

My goal is to promote STEM nationwide, hopefully worldwide, and winning this award will be a doorway for more opportunities and self-improvement, which will help my achieve my mission to promote STEM to young people. I am passionate about STEM, engaging with young people and inspiring them to pursue a career in STEM. This award will allow me to further develop my experience, knowledge and wisdom. 

I applied to study an degree apprenticeship to get hands-on experience and exposure to a working environment. I also find I learn better by actually doing something rather than memorising it from a textbook. I did a Software Engineering Degree Apprenticeship working at the BBC and studying at QMUL, graduating with a BSc in Digital and Technology Solutions at the Software Engineer pathway.

I really enjoyed my time as a student, I was able to take part in societies and in my final year I become Head of Events in the QM Tamil Society. I liked meeting new people and having lectures with all students, not just the apprentices. It was at QMUL I found I was dyslexic, after my lecturer, who was also my personal tutor, read one of my assignments. After all those years, when I was 18, I was diagnosed with dyslexia and the university were really supportive about it, providing me with support and guidance to help me complete the rest of my apprenticeship.  

Coming from a BAME background it is important to show that apprenticeships are a positive alternative option. There is so much you can gain from an apprenticeship. I believe both apprenticeships, and STEM are for all ages, genders, ethnicities and all levels. I have been involved in many activities engaging a wide diverse range of audience and inspiring them to pursue a career in STEM. I am the youngest person to win the IET Paul Fletcher Award for my dedication to promoting STEM, and also won the STEM Inspiration Award, donating my £250 prize money to John Chilton School, to help children with special needs. I have a learning disability and I know how expensive equipment can be. I also plan to visit many classrooms, including at John Chilton, to teach young people about my role, and inspire them to pursue a career in STEM. STEM is for everyone!" 

The winner will be announced at the IET’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards ceremony on Thursday 2 December 2021 and we wish Dilani good luck! For more information, visit




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